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Difficulty I-III
Length 7.4 Miles
Gauge YELLOW RIVER AT GA 124, NEAR LITHONIA, GA
Flow Range 200 - 1400 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 24 minutes ago 102 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 03/26/2009 3:33 pm

River Description


This section of Yellow River, in particular from US 78 to the Yellow River Park, offers its most challenging white water. As noted in the posts below, the quality of the water has improved greatly. Save for the last three miles, this section of the Yellow passes entirely through private property. When scouting it is best to do so either from rocks that are squarely within the banks of the river or from the boat. When approaching Annistown Falls, do not scout and/or portage on river left.


From the US 78 bridge the river is flat water until you reach site of the old highway bridge crossing (mile 0.6). As you pass the brick supports for the bridge, the river banks to the southeast. There is the first small ledge, creating a small wave that can be surfed. For the next mile the river alternatives between a series of ledge drops and flat waterÂone of the drops is three feet. Before reaching the island, there are the Ledges (mile 1.8)--two significant drops form the entrance into Island Rapid (mile 1.9). Both of these ledges will produce substantial holes at high water.


Below the island the current stills again for more than a mile, as the river approaches the entrance to Annistown Falls (mile 3.4). From the Falls the river widens and works through a rock garden and over small ledges. At lower levels this section is technical, at medium to high, it presents more substantial challenges. After the last ledge, there is a take-out--park of the Yellow River Park. Beyond this ledge, the Yellow returns to a placid flat water stream to the Hwy. 124 Bridge.

Rapid Descriptions

Ledges

Class - II+ Mile - 1.8
Set of two ledges before the island. At higher water, work to the right in dropping the second ledge.

Island Rapids

Class - II+ Mile - 1.9
After negotiating two substantial ledges, the river is then divided by an island. The left channel is a series of three drops that require quick maneuvering. The right channel, according to Susan Welander, p. 263, gives the better ride “as you accelerate through it to the left.”

Annistown Falls

Class - III Mile - 3.4
You will know you are approaching the falls when you see Annistown Road Bridge over the river. Most of the flow moves towards the right side of the river and then curves to the left as it spills over the five foot drop that is Annistown Falls. The best place to scout is from a big rock in the center of the river. Stopping on far river right is another location for scouting his drop, although there is some current there. You can portage from both of these locations. Take care exiting your boat, as the rocks are very slippery.

The two main lines for running the rapid are: running the main drop through the seam; or, boofing off the river right ledge. When scouting the falls, take notice of the following: Look for obstructions in the main flow of current, or below the ledge. There has been wood stuck in the falls in the past. If there is wood stuck in the drop, a portage should be mandatory. For running the main drop, check for visual cues upstream and downstream to line up for the main drop. You will not be able to figure out where you are until the last second, leaving very little time to make corrections. Notice the rocks to the right, left and bottom of the drop. Run the drop just slightly to the right of the main flow at the top to drop into the wave train below. A word of caution: At high water, the center rock (for scouting) is covered and the river right eddy is gone.

Below the drop, there are eddies on river right and river left. After the drop, work your way to far river left as you go under the bridge. Be sure to be all the way river left as you go over the next drop, a 2 foot sluice, as you exit from under the bridge. Work immediately to the left again to go over the last drop, Annistown wave/hole. This is a three foot drop that is almost river wide and pretty sticky at normal levels. Stay away from running this drop on river right due to a large rock immediately downstream.
---Description of "Annistown Falls" by Scott Houser

Comments

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gary debacher
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6 years ago

Someone has been making it impossible to park at Annistown Bridge, by blocking the gravel access to the parking area. There is also no good way to park along the highway in order to carry boats up on the trail from below the bridge. I recommend continuing downstream to take out at Yellow River Park. Technically, there is "no parking" along the road where the last rapids end, but if you're able to do a fast load, or to carry boats to the parking lot, you're OK. Otherwise you can go down the flatwater and take out at or below a park viewing platform on the right bank. From there, I think it's about a quarter mile carry to the parking lot.

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Jeff Lankford
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9 years ago

regarding the comment 2009-09-17: be very careful about attempting to scout this ledge-drop on river left at medium to high flows. The rocks mentioned will be covered at the levels we normally run this, and the left side of this drop has serious pin potential. The only safe line to run this drop at high water is far river right, so scouting from the left bank will not be much help. Unfortunately this house has a new owner and they bought it during the drought, so they're not too familiar with boaters in their backyard. Try to be respectful, stay near the water when scouting or portaging, and be quick about it. If anyone has an encounter with this person I would like to be told about it - I live in this subdivision and can try to talk to them as a neighbor. Note that they own both sides of the river, about 2000 feet of frontage and the island downstream, and the property was being marketed as "owning the river" because of this. I have not had the opportunity to speak with this landowner yet, but you should assume that they think they own the river bed and that you are trespassing even when you're in your boat on the water. Now that the water is back, I hope we can educate them on Georgia navigability precedent.

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Robert Butera
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9 years ago

Note to the post on 2009-08-30. The landowner in the fancy house above the Island rapid (where you likely scouted from) is very touchy about boaters being on their property. When we last ran it we had a group staring us down, and it was not because they were interested in seeing our paddling skills. If the flow allows, I recommend scouting this from the rocks sticking into the river from river left - I think it is better vantage point for seeing the rapid anyway.

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9 years ago

Went down this run yesterday at around 1200 cfs. It was a great run with some challenging III's lots of II's and one V. The first mile or two is flat water. The first III we scouted on the river right near someone house before we ran it. After that it splits left or right. We went right and there is a nice long slide with a huge rock splitting the river. Then there was about a 1/4 mile of II, followed by some flat water. Then we came to anniston falls. The entrance drop to it was about a IV with some moderate holes. Just under the bridge however was a massive riverwide hole. When we got there there was a guy in a playboat and two canoes which suggested I didn't run it because the hole was smiling up stream. We didn't run it and after it there was about a good 1/2 mile of II that was pretty fun.

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10 years ago

I've been paddling the Yellow over the winter and it has been a blast. As a beginner the various water levels have presented challenges and learning that has helped me develop my skills. But I haven't met up with any other boaters until today. But it was through the mail as I had dropped my Drivers License upon returning to the Anniston Bridge to retrieve my truck. Some great soul found it and returned it to me. I'd like to thank-you and wanted you to know that it was for a fellow kayaker. Always looking for pointers... thanks again Ken Stallings kemsan42@yahoo.com

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gary debacher
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10 years ago

In case it's not obvious, the map markers are not for the hwy 78 to Yellow River Park section described, but for the next section. Not a big problem, just focus on the section above the one marked when using the map.

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alex brantley
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11 years ago

me and a buddy have come up with some names for the falls down: the falls name is being debated, "beer can falls", cuz of all the beer cans on top, or "milkshake falls", cuz of the lovely chocolate milk looking water of the yellow river. -the rapid under the bridge is "Trashcan", cuz of all the bottles and crap along the bank rapid around the bend is "Spin City", cuz at regular flows spin and cartwheel holes are everywhere. -after that it's "Mobey's Dick", there is a big whale looking rock close to the left bank, thats mobey's dick, and beside it is a wonderful playhole. -then the rapid before the takeout is "briar patch hole", cuz of the sweet spin and blunt hole next to the briar plant, this hole becomes sweeet at med. to high flows. -last is the takeout rapid named "crack in the rock jr." or "buttcrack", cuz one of the lines is through the "buttcrack" looking drop. those are the names we call the rapids from the falls down, the rapids above are still in the process

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11 years ago

The Yellow River can flash flood after thunderstorms. It has gone from 350 cfs to over 7,500 in a couple of hours. The ledge and hole at Annistown Bridge become interesting at high water. Definitely can reach IV - IV+

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11 years ago

From: Alex Brantley, The yellow river below us 78 is a very good run being in the area that it's in. The run has lots of play through out it, but also has some creeky feeling rapids in it. It also can be run at VERY low water, i've ran it at 58 cfs before. The run is playable from about 750 cfs down, anywhere above that i'd bring a creek boat. The run has some very good unmarked play rapids, the first is a little foot and a half ledge that makes a wave or hole, the next is a 3 maybe 4 foot ledge with a nice wave in the center and holes on the right, then you get to the island rapid and the ledges above them, it's basically one rapid. go left around the island for a creeky set of rapids (3 in all), and right around the island for a fun slide with a big rock in the middle of it, then its flatwater till about a half mile above the falls, there is a fun little shoals rapid, then you get to the falls, the falls are big, lets put it that way, at low water the center is the only route, and it has two big holes after you get past the big slide thingy with a piton rok on the left and a cave on the right, the first hole is a keeper so its important to stay on line to punch it, the next is right below the keeper which is punched with no problems, i recomend waiting until high enough water level to run the 8 foot ledge. Below the falls and under the bridge is a very fun class 2/3 rapid. the top part is a sluice with big wave trains and a suprise hole in the middle, but you have to be careful not to ride this all the way out or it will put you on a bad line for the next drop. You DO NOT want to go over the right and center of this ledge, the center is a big keeper hole and the right has very bad piton and pin potintal, go to the left side of the 4 foot ledge, there is a very nice wave or hole depending on what level you go at, then play your way down the rapids along to the takeout, these rapids make for some nice surfing, there is even a nice catwheel hole along the way. At the takeout (the bike park) there is a very fun rapid (we call it "crack in the rock jr.), lines are everywhere, the best is through the center, there is a opening in the big rock that goes across the river, try to run the opening from the left to avoid a piton and maybe byt not likely pin, at medium to high flows a big curler forms that may scare some people if so run far left there is a fun slide with a very fun flatspin hole, the hole is there at almost every water level, and on the far right of the big rock is a cool little wave beside the big boulders, i have been trying to make the wave and hole bigger but every time the yellow gets very high it washes my hard work away. Then take out at the bike park and walk to your car.

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BradR
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14 years ago

From Boatertalk:

Yellow River last night - longish TR New

Forum: BoaterTalk
Date: Aug 13 2004, 20:54 GMT
From: peterelkon

Yesterday Metro Atlanta got pounded, particularly in the Ocmulgee watershed, and the Yellow came up to about 1800 cfs at 6PM when X and I put on. X will remain nameless for reasons that will get clearer.

I had been avoiding the yellow for the last couples of decades because Gwinnett County put in a sewage treatment facility just above the section we ran, and I don't like paddling in nasty water. However, I have been informed by members of the Biology dpartment of Oxford College (part of Emory U.) that the Yellow runs pretty clean these days since Gwinnett change the system used to treat the water. There's Caddis Fly larvae in there again, an indicator that the water's clean.

There's that, and the fact that all the parking lots in Gwinnet County make the thing really flash...

Anyhow, we meet at the bike park, run the boats upstream, and put in. The first bit is flat, but moving at 8-10 mph, quite respectable, and we blow through what is usually about 1/2 hour of flatwater in about 15 minutes, and get to the first set of rapids, a few hundred yards of waves and holes - fun playing, and there were still a few eddies for repeat rides here and there. At the bottom of this stretch is the first of two real rapids, a set of ledges. The first has a very visible horizon line, and X was nice enough to remind me of the need to stop and scout. Should you choose to do this, I'd suggest you do the same, as the ledge has steep sections and not-so steep sections, and holes that move around depending on the level. You don't want to be in the wrong place unless you have gills, and if you're in the right place, it's easy. After the first ledge, you can either cut left around an island, or go straight. We were about to go around the island when X said "Let's go right," and then, the words that everyone wants to hear: "Watch out for the rock on the right, and paddle hard!" By this time, I was already heading to the last ledge, there were no eddies left, and all I could think was "Why did I decide to do this?"

I could see the rock on the right, now. On a thirty foot wide creek, a bus-sized object is hard to miss, at least visually. I could also see that I was on a ramp, headed directly for a five-foot foam pile with a hole at the bottom, the afore-mentioned rock on the right, and a small cliff on the left. Nowhere to go but the hole. If there had been time for violent fantasies involving X, I would have had at least one, but I was too busy stroking and wishing for a bigger boat. I took heart from the fact that X was no longer in sight, and if he got through, I could too. Paddle like heel, lean forward, get the bow under the foam, grab the red greenwater, lean back, and....foam, dark, then, YES! AIR! To repeat what I said to my partner in the eddy is a violation of the user agreement.

More flatwater and boogie water followed, until we came to Annistown Bridge. Did I mention that X lured me into this with the promise of "Western Whitewater?" What he meant was: "a series of drops with big nasty holes that you might not get out of until the river drops."

As we were scouting, Will Gosney wandered up, to see wht might be going on. X decided to go first, to demonstrate the viability of the first drop. I watched him, thinking: "Nice ferry, but isn't he a few feet to the left of where he said he was going?" The first drop has a hole in the center, with tongues on the left and right. I think he had his eyes on the hole, 'cause that's where he ended up. After his first 360, Will asked: "Is he doing that on purpose?" Hoping X would do his usual pull-something-sweet-out-of-his-nether-regions, I kep my peace. After a couple of unintendoes and a few more 360's, when will asked again if this was on purpose, I said "No," and Will unpacked the rope. A few more rotations and X got an ender on the top of the foam pile, flipped and came out. Unfortunately, he lost his wind and his grip on his paddle at the same time. There are rocks down in where he landed, too.

Anyway, he swam. Hard, because he only had a little room before the next series of three big holes. Will threw the rope, but X didn't even look for it. I went for my boat, and put in below where X got chundered, and went on after his boat. I caught up with him as he was in the water below the rapid, floating after his boat. He had hopped in to try and catch up with it. He wanted me to go back and get his rope, because his boat was hung in a tree. Did I mention the river was up in the trees? When his boat came loose and started floating downstream, we decided to switch jobs, so I chased his boat through a small rapid. It only cartwheeled once, so I didn't feel too bad being the only boat on the river above Jackson Lake. I caught the thing, got a line on it, and found a hole in the trees in which to dump it. Pick it up, start to turn it over on my deck, and, for the first in in many years of boating, a fish the size of my forearm jumps out of his cockpit right at my face!
Eventually, Jeff, er, X, managed to walk down the bank after getting his rope from Will. We ran the last few waves in the dark, got out, and went home.

Lessons learned:
Set safety on river left at Annistown Falls at high water. All you have to is cross the bridge and walk back down the other side, and that's where the swimmers go.
Watch out for fish in boats.


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BradR
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14 years ago

From Boatertalk:
Yellow River TR (Atlanta) New

Forum: BoaterTalk
Date: Jul 12 2004, 12:56 GMT
From: atloutdrman1

the yellow river under annistown bridge is a nice run. very nice for being in the atlanta area. this is the second time ive been there, and the surfing was great. you put in right above a class 3/3+? waterfall, which is a great ride down. you drop and paddle right, left and youll get stuck on some rock. you go underneath the bridge and youll see a small ledge that makes for an awesome surfing wave. this has been great every time ive been out there, at even low water levels. the water quality hasnt bothered me as much as some people say, but what do i know about that. a bud and i ran the waterfall, worked on stern squirts, cartwheels, ect. below the waterfall and went down to the wave. the wave was running great. in his ego, he could surf straight ahead, but if i tried it (in a session +), my front end would just go under the water and toss me all around (it is shallow where the water comes down the ledge). it is an awesome wave to learn to side surf on, you can get into the river rt side of it and surf your brains out. just be careful if you flip, the rocks are just under the surface of the water below it, and they arent dull. my shoulder is still red and cut up from it. we surfed our arms out till they were tired, paddled down a little and worked on playing in the eddylines again. we pulled out and went home. for a near atlanta run, it is great. just park on teh side of the rd where there is a gravel "road" up the hill to a parking area, and walk under the bridge down the little path to the river. great run. it is under the annistown bridge, you wont hear the waterfall until you get under the bridge.

Gage Descriptions

USGS Yellow River Page is very interesting in that in addition to flow info it also has water temps and conductivity.

Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

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Charles Spornick

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193178 03/26/09 Charles Spornick n/a